Vitamin A Deficiency In Children Reduces Immunity, WHO On Malnutrition

To fight this menace, we need to create sustainable, resilient food systems for healthy diets and ensure that social protection and nutrition-related education is available to all. 

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Children in the national capital may encounter stunted growth and become more vulnerable to diseases as more than a quarter of them under the age of five are underweight, a National Family Health Survey revealed on Tuesday.

According to data provided by the fourth edition of the survey, 27.3 per cent children in Delhi have an improper age-weight ratio, falling below the World Health Organization (WHO) standard, indicating the lack of nutrition in the diet they take.

“Our children require the best nutrition as they grow faster in this age and need proper nutrition for healthy growth. However, they are also the biggest sufferers due to lack of equal access to nutrition.

“Malnutrition is not just lack of food, it is a combination of factors like insufficient protein, energy and micronutrients, poor care and feeding practices, inadequate health services, frequent infections or disease, and poor water and sanitation.

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Representational image showing a malnutrition ridden child.

“In the long term, it may impair the child’s physical and mental development,” said Raghuram Mallaiah, Director, Neonatology at New Delhi’s Fortis La Femme.

He added that inadequate nutrition may stunt a child’s growth, deprive him or her of essential vitamins and minerals, and make children more susceptible to infectious diseases such as malaria, diarrhoea, measles and can even cause death.

According to the WHO, malnutrition is the single biggest threat to global public health and causes nearly 45 per cent deaths of children aged under five years.

As per reports, malnutrition in children impacts their education as the degree of cognitive impairment is directly related to the severity of stunting and Iron Deficiency Anaemia (IDA).

Stunted children in the first two years of life usually have lower cognitive test scores, delayed enrolment, higher absenteeism and more class repetition compared with non-stunted children.

malnutrition in India
Malnutrition needs an end

Vitamin A deficiency in children reduces immunity and increases the incidence and gravity of infectious diseases that result in increased school absenteeism.

Underweight children are likely to be at a greater risk of premature death due to the negative impacts of undernourishment such as micronutrient deficiencies, poor immunity and susceptibility to infections.

Also Read: Protein Identified Enables New Drugs to Increase ‘Good Cholesterol’ Levels

“To fight this menace, we need to create sustainable, resilient food systems for healthy diets and ensure that social protection and nutrition-related education is available to all.

“We also need to align our health systems to the nutrition needs of children, ensuring that policies are devised to improve access to nutrition,” Mallaiah said.(IANS)

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Understand Your Kids’ Perspective to Make Them Exercise

Parents need to put themselves in children's shoes to make their kids take time off the screen and exercise

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little kid
Being strict parents will not help, you need to understand your kid's perspective. Pixabay

Strict parenting may not always yield the best results, especially when it comes to making your kids take time off the screen and do some exercise, suggests new research Lifestyle news.

Rather, parents who know a child’s preferences and participate in the activities become more successful in keeping him/her motivated to do exercise, showed the findings published in International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

Parental control, meaning varying degrees of coercion and disregarding the child’s role in exercise-related decision-making, was perceived as undesirable and reduced enthusiasm for exercise.

“For example, strong, public and overt encouragement in tournaments and games was perceived in some cases as embarrassing and even shameful,” explained postdoctoral researcher Arto Laukkanen from University of Jyvaskyla in Finland.

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“For example, strong, public and overt encouragement in tournaments and games was perceived in some cases as embarrassing and even shameful,” explained postdoctoral researcher Arto Laukkanen. Pixabay

“In addition, underestimating and ignoring the temporary cessation of exercise motivation, for example, was perceived as controlling and reducing enthusiasm for exercise.”

The study involved interviews with 79 first-, second-, and third-grade students.

The researchers found that children aged 7 to 10 years had a clear distinction between parenting that increases and reduces exercise motivation.

A very typical unpleasant exercise experience for children was related to limiting screen time and the associated command that the child should go out to exercise.

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Parents want to limit the screen time of their kids and want them to exercise. Pixabay

Read More: India Extends Lockdown Till May End

“This is very contradictory, as parents try to take care of the children’s screen time and adequate level of exercise, but at the same time they may be contributing to alienation from exercise,” Laukkanen said.

“Perhaps exercise should not be set in opposition to screen time, but one should strive to organize independent space for both of them in everyday life.”

However, the researchers said that further research on this topic was urgently needed from the perspectives of both children and parents. (IANS)

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Children Need Extra Help To Build Psychological Resilience In Pandemic

Parents and caregivers need to understand children in these difficult times of Pandemic and extend support

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Children
Understanding child psychology and supporting children in these tough times is very critical. Pixabay

BY N. LOTHUNGBENI HUMTSOE

We are certainly aware of the medical and economic consequences of COVID 19; but what is also critical is the psychological aspect of this fight, especially for children — in their families, isolation facilities, child care institutions as well as NGO run shelter facilities. There is a need to educate parents and caregivers to support children in these difficult times and build their social and psychological resilience. It is an essential lifestyle news that children need support from parents and caregivers in the pandemic.

It is natural for the children to feel stress, anxiety, grief, and worry during an ongoing pandemic like COVID-19. Fear and anxiety about their own health and the health of loved ones can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions. In today’s digital world, children also access different kinds of information and news through social media and digital platforms, some of them may not be factually true, causing further stress and anxiety. It is enhanced when children are not able to go out, play, attend school or interact freely. Here are some tips by by Deepika Gandhi, Coordinator-Mental Health Initiatives, Miracle Foundation India to protect your child mentally and emotionally in isolation:

Understand that reactions to the pandemic may vary

Children’s responses to stressful events are unique and varied. Some children may be irritable or clingy, and some may regress, demand extra attention, or have difficulty with self-care, sleeping, and eating. New and challenging behaviors are natural responses, and adults can help by showing empathy and patience and by calmly setting limits when needed.

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There is a need to educate parents and caregivers to support children in these difficult times. Pixabay

Ensure the presence of a responsive and sensitive caregiver

The primary factor in recovery from a traumatic event is the presence of a supportive, caring adult in a child’s life. Even when a parent is not available, children can benefit greatly from care provided by other adults (e.g., caretaker, relatives, friends) who can offer them consistent, sensitive care that helps protect them from a pandemic’s harmful effects.

Social distancing should not mean social isolation

Children, especially young children — need quality time with their caregivers and other important people in their lives. Social connectedness improves children’s chances of showing resilience to adversity. Creative approaches to staying connected are important (e.g., writing letters, online video chats).

Provide age-appropriate information

Children tend to rely on their imaginations when they lack adequate information.. Adults’ decisions to withhold information are usually more stressful for children than telling the truth in age-appropriate ways. Adults should instead make themselves available for children to ask questions and talk about their concerns. In addition, adults’ should limit children’s exposure to media coverage, social media and adult conversations about the pandemic, as these channels may be less age-appropriate.

Create a safe physical and emotional environment

Reassurance, routines and regulation- first, adults should reassure children about their safety and the safety of loved ones, and tell them that it is adults’ job to ensure their safety. Second, adults should maintain routines to provide children with a sense of safety and predictability (e.g., regular bedtimes and meals, daily schedules for learning and play). And third, adults should support children’s development of regulation. To help them manage these reactions, it is important to both validate their feelings (e.g., “I know that this might feel scary or overwhelming”) and encourage them to engage in activities that help them self-regulate (e.g., exercise, deep breathing, mindfulness or meditation activities, regular routines for sleeping and eating).

Emphasise strengths, hope and positivity

Also Read: https://www.newsgram.com/busting-myths-around-frozen-food/

Children need to feel safe, secure, and positive about their present and future. Adults can help by focusing children’s attention on stories about how people come together, find creative solutions to difficult problems, and overcome adversity during the epidemic. Talking about these stories can be healing and reassuring to children and adults alike. (IANS)

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COVID-19 Poses Serious Complications, Even Death Risk for Children: Research

Children at a higher risk from COVID-19

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Children at high risk of complications from Covid-19. Pixabay

Researchers, including one of Indian-origin, have revealed that children, teenagers and young adults are at greater risk for severe complications from COVID-19 and those with underlying health conditions are at even greater risk of death.

“This study provides a baseline understanding of the early disease burden of COVID-19 in pediatric patients,” said study researcher Hariprem Rajasekhar from Robert Wood Johnson Medical School Department of Pediatrics in the US. “The findings confirm that this emerging disease was already widespread in March and that it is not universally benign among children,” Rajasekhar added.

Published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, the study followed 48 children and young adults – from newborns to 21 years old — who were admitted to pediatric intensive care units (PICUs) in the US and Canada for COVID-19 in March and April.

More than 80 per cent had chronic underlying conditions, such as immune suppression, obesity, diabetes, seizures or chronic lung disease. Of those, 40 per cent depended on technological support due to developmental delays or genetic anomalies. More than 20 per cent experienced failure of two or more organ systems due to COVID-19, and nearly 40 per cent required a breathing tube and ventilator.

At the end of the follow-up period, nearly 33 percent of the children were still hospitalised due to COVID-19, with three still requiring ventilator support and one on life support. Two of the children admitted during the three-week study period died.

 

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Children, teenagers and young adults at very high risk of COVID-19, say researchers. Pixabay

The researchers said they were “cautiously encouraged” by hospital outcomes for the children studied, citing the 4.2 per cent mortality rate for PICU patients compared with published mortality rates of up to 62 per cent among adults admitted to ICUs, as well as lower incidences of respiratory failure.

The study noted that doctors in the New York metropolitan area are seeing what appears to be a new COVID-related syndrome in children. “The idea that COVID-19 is sparing of young people is just false,” said study co-author Lawrence C Kleinman from Rutgers University in the US.

“While children are more likely to get very sick if they have other chronic conditions, including obesity, it is important to note that children without chronic illness are also at risk. Parents need to continue to take the virus seriously,” Kleinman added.

Recently, another study, published in the journal Frontiers in Pediatrics, also revealed that gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhoea, coupled with a fever or history of exposure to COVID-19, could indicate coronavirus infection in children.

Also Read: Do yoga to stay fit: Sandeep Singh

The US currently accounts for the world’s highest number of COVID-19 cases and deaths at 1,347,388 and 80,397, respectively, according to the Johns Hopkins University. (IANS)